How to Choose a Fishing Reel in 2023(Step-by-Step)

choose fishing reel

Without question the significance of a reliable fishing reel cannot be overstated – regardless of whether one is an expert fisherman or someone who is looking to pick up the hobby. Therefore it’s crucial to select a high-quality reel that suits your needs. In the realm of fishing, the right equipment can make all the difference between an unforgettable day out on the water and a frustrating fishing fiasco.

Today, we’ll help you navigate the sea of fishing reels available on the market today. As varied as the fish you’re aiming to catch, there’s a plethora of reel types designed for different fishing styles, targeted species, and specific environments. But fear not, dear reader! We will guide you through choosing the perfect reel step-by-step.

Types of Fishing Reels

In the vast ocean of fishing gear, understanding the various types of reels available is the first step to making a “reel-y” good choice. Each type has its unique features, benefits, and drawbacks, much like every fish has its own patterns and quirks. Let’s dive into the various types of fishing reels and learn more about how they might align with your fishing ambitions.

choose fishing reel

Spincast Reel

The spin cast reel is the quintessential beginner’s best friend. Imagine it as the friendly dolphin in the sea of fishing reels, easy-going and fun, an ideal starting point. It’s user-friendly, affordable, and perfect for light fishing. However, it lacks the casting distance and precision that some seasoned anglers may crave.

choose fishing reel

Spinning Reel

Ever the versatile sea turtle, the spinning reel can adapt to many situations. This popular reel is easy to use, offers a fantastic balance of control and capacity, and can handle a wide range of fishing conditions. Its only downside? It might not be suitable for very heavy lines and big game fishing.

choose fishing reel

Baitcasting Reel

The baitcasting reel is the true marlin of the reel world, designed for power and distance. Built for experienced anglers, it offers precision and extensive line capacity, perfect for landing that trophy catch. However, mastering a baitcasting reel might feel like taming a wild marlin for beginners due to its steep learning curve.

choose fishing reel

Fly Fishing Reel

The fly fishing reel is the graceful manta ray of our reel ecosystem. It’s specialized, unique, and requires a particular set of skills. Designed to handle thin, delicate lines and offer a smooth drag system, it’s your go-to for fly fishing. Its specific functionality, however, means it may not be the best fit for other fishing types.

choose fishing reel

Trolling Reel

The trolling reel is the stalwart whale of fishing reels, specifically designed for heavy-duty saltwater and big game fishing. With robust construction and massive line capacity, these reels are the go-to choice when you’re after large, deep-dwelling fish. But beware, it’s not designed for casting; it’s best used on a boat, trawling your bait behind.

Having comprehended the varying types of fishing reels, it is vital to evaluate which one caters to your specific fishing requirements, techniques, and targeted species.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fishing Reel

Choosing the perfect fishing reel can sometimes feel like finding Nemo in the vast expanse of the ocean. But please don’t worry, we will guide you. There are several important factors to consider when making your choice, each as crucial as the pieces of a fishing knot.

Fishing Technique

How to Enhance Your Fishing Skills

Your fishing technique is the compass guiding you to your perfect reel. Are you casting from a peaceful riverbank, fly fishing amidst the tranquility of nature, or going offshore chasing after the big fish? Your style of fishing helps determine the reel that’s best suited to your needs.

Targeted Fish Species

The type of fish you’re after is like the size of the bait on your hook. Targeting a feisty bass in freshwater requires a different approach than hunting a massive marlin in the deep sea. Understand the species you aim to catch and match it with the reel that gives you the best shot at success.


Your fishing environment is like the sea current – it plays a significant role in directing your decision. Freshwater demands different equipment than saltwater due to corrosion. Beach fishing, boat fishing, or ice fishing – each environment needs its unique consideration when choosing a reel.

Level of Expertise:

Your experience level is like the depth at which you fish. Beginners might find a spin cast reel more manageable, while seasoned anglers may crave the challenge and control of a baitcasting reel. Consider your comfort level and the learning curve you’re ready to tackle.


Last but not least, your budget is the sturdy boat carrying you through your fishing journey. With a wide range of prices, there’s a reel for every wallet size. Determine what you’re comfortable spending without capsizing your financial stability.

By considering these factors, you’ll be able to set a clear course toward your perfect fishing reel. Remembering that success in fishing involves more than merely owning high-end gear is essential. The synergy between an individual fisher, their tools, and their surroundings plays a vital role in overall performance. Continue with us as we provide you with an instructional and detailed guide on hand-picking your best-fitting fishing reel via step-by-step instructions.

How to Choose a Fishing Reel

Alright, fellow anglers, it’s time to set sail on our step-by-step journey to reel in the perfect fishing reel. Just like plotting a course to your favorite fishing spot, let’s navigate this process together.

Step 1: Identify your Fishing Technique and Target Species

Let’s start by casting our minds to your fishing technique and the species you’re after. Are you a fly fisher dreaming of trout or a deep-sea angler on the hunt for marlin? Identifying your technique and target species will help narrow the sea of choices down to a manageable stream.

Step 2: Consider your Fishing Location

Now, think about your fishing environment. Picture the gentle freshwaters of a lake or the harsh waves of the open sea. Your location greatly influences your reel choice due to factors such as corrosion and the average size of fish you’ll encounter.

Step 3: Assess your Skill Level

Next, take a moment for some honest introspection. From novices just starting out to seasoned fishermen with decades of experience, everyone can enjoy the art and skill required for successful fishing. Are you dipping your toes into this relaxing hobby or challenging yourself on hitting those high scores at completing your set’s biggest fish list? Perhaps you’ve spent many long hours on lakes all over the country perfecting your fishing skills, but no matter what brought us here we all share one common passion for spending time in peaceful nature surrounded by fresh air. Your experience level will direct you towards a reel that’s user-friendly or one that offers advanced features.

Step 4: Set a Budget

Deciding on a budget is like setting the boundaries of your fishing zone. It’s essential to consider all available choices presented by the fishing gear market across varying budgets. Strive for a sense of well-being by selecting a budget aligned with your comfort level – excessive spending concerns can detract from the joy of angling itself. Remember: focus on having fun and ditch worries about overspending for an optimal time on the water.

Step 5: Research Reel Options that Match the Criteria

Now comes the exciting part – researching your options! Look for reels that align with your technique, target species, location, skill level, and budget. Consider each option as if you’re studying the fish you’re about to catch.

Step 6: Read Customer Reviews and Ask for Recommendations

In this step, we’ll do a little ‘fishing for information.’ Reading reviews and seeking recommendations can give you insights that product descriptions don’t. It’s like hearing tales from other anglers about the one that didn’t get away.

Step 7: Purchase and Test your Chosen Reel

Time to take the plunge! After diligent research, go ahead and purchase your chosen reel. But remember, just as every fishing trip is a new experience, so is using a new reel. It may be useful to allow oneself ample time to adjust to this new task and to not become disheartened if initial attempts seem difficult or clumsy.

The above guide has taught you how to choose the best reel step-by-step. Now, let’s talk about taking care of your new fishing companion.

Fishing Reel Maintenance

Just like nurturing a friendship with a fellow fishing enthusiast, taking care of your fishing reel can lead to years of great experiences. Let’s explore how to maintain that shiny new reel of yours, ensuring it lasts as long as those fish tales you’ll be sharing with your buddies.

choose fishing reel

Regular Cleaning

Think of cleaning your reel as washing the sea salt off your skin after a great day of fishing. It’s essential, especially after a saltwater trip, to prevent corrosion and keep your reel operating smoothly. A gentle rinse, a soft brush for scrubbing, and a careful dry are all it takes to keep your reel in tip-top shape.

choose fishing reel

Proper Storage

Storing your reel properly is as important as storing your catch to keep it fresh. When not in use, keep your reel in a dry, cool place, and consider a protective case for added safety. Just like you wouldn’t leave your fish out in the sun, don’t neglect your reel in a damp, hot garage.

choose fishing reel

Timely Repairs

Even with the best care, your reel may need repair from time to time, just like patching up a punctured inflatable fishing boat. Whether it’s a worn-out bearing or a problematic drag system, don’t ignore the small signs. Seek professional help if needed and keep your reel in its best working condition.

Remember, a well-cared-for reel not only enhances your fishing experience but can also become a trusty partner, standing the test of time.


And just like that, fellow anglers, we’ve journeyed through the vast seas of choosing the perfect fishing reel. We’ve navigated through different types of reels, decoded the factors to consider when choosing one, followed a detailed map to make your choice, and learned how to care for your new companion. Hopefully, this guide feels like a trusty old fishing buddy, guiding you every step of the way.

Remember, every angler has their unique style, their preferred catch, and their cherished fishing spots. Similarly, every angler has their perfect fishing reel out there, just waiting to be discovered. And this guide will help you to find your reel.

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